A good friend of mine once said, “The best way to grow is to over-obligate your abilities.” Having talked to some known and unknown people in the moto-world, this is a common thread. Everyone who does this has at least one moment where they say to themselves, “What the hell am I doing this for?” Knowing where you want a project to go and getting it there can be frustrating for sure. Add to that the restrictions of working within the confines of what you can afford and the equipment and skills you have on hand? That frustration can be exhausting and downright crippling.
The latest challenge for me has been building an exhaust set-up for the Assless Grasshopper project here at Other Life Cycles. This is something that until recently seemed kinda out on the edge of my abilities. I mean, I can weld well enough with my trusty Hobart Handler 140 in the garage. And I have the skills to measure and cut things accurately. I even have the patience to work slowly when I am in new territory. But even with all of that, I found myself pretty convinced my custom exhaust building would end in disaster.
For more than a few days, I sketched out the ideas and worked out where to find the best grouping of mandrel bent bits. I ended up getting a TC Bros kit from Dime City Cycles as well as a series of 45’s from the guys at Cone Engineering. During that same time, I psyched myself up and out of the process more than once as well.
Then, I went back to an old favorite article written by a hero of mine, John Ryland at Classified Moto for Bike Exif. This article has saved me from my own despair and ego more than once so far. I am sure it will save me again because it cuts through whatever bullshit I am creating or experiencing and gets me back to being a little more rational. It always reminds me of that friend of mine who is responsible for the quote at the beginning of this post.
The truth is, folks, my friend is right: the only way we grow is by over-obligating our abilities. For me, the concept of what is really just metal tubes cut and welded together seemed really hard (like, wizard in a tower hard) until I put all of that inner dialogue about the possibility of failure down and just got busy “doing.” Then, I found myself back at that intersection of the road I know and the road I do not. That intersection is fast becoming my favorite place.